This is tomorrow’s democracy. Barack Obama has just announced his win in the presidential election by sending a tweet and an email to supporters before going on stage in person to deliver his acceptance speech. With the subject line “How This Happened,” Obama’s email noted “I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen.”
The 2012 election was a whole different ballgame thanks to technology. We gathered together on the second screen through the debates, polls, and the election itself today.
Social media isn’t just for campaigning or communicating with the tech-savvy audience anymore. It has become possibly the most vivid and persuasive way candidates interact with their supporters. And now email has become so ubiquitous that it can deliver messages of the greatest importance, like accepting the presidency of the United States of America.
Obama’s use of these digital channels to announce the news crystallizes how tech is removing the barriers between leaders and citizens. There’s no need to wait for television networks to interrupt broadcasts or get their cameras rolling. The audience doesn’t even need to tune in.
Platforms like Twitter and protocols like email give the power of distribution directly to politicians. Meanwhile the populace gains the power of redistribution. We can make our leaders’ messages go viral, and spread them to those who might not even want to listen.
The first voters in this country could only dream of how close we are now to those who are supposed to govern in our interests. Technology lets us know more about those we elect, so we can make better decisions about whether to re-elect them.
From: Barack Obama firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM
Subject: How this happened
I’m about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.
I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen.
You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn’t easy, you pressed forward.
I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.
But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.
Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.
There’s a lot more work to do.
But for right now: Thank you.